Chapter 04: Nightmare
Lara tried to peer through the snow, tried to see what was going on around her as she tried to find the path that would lead her home. She thought that she could make out something and turned to call out to Amanda and tell her. But, when she turned around, the woman had disappeared in the wall of white. Worried that she had fallen behind, Lara took a step back and called out her name. Her call was answered by a cry of rage and quite suddenly the snow swirled open as Amanda came at her, carrying a large rock. Her intention was clear, the murder all but shining in her eyes.
"Amanda no!" Lara yelled even as she pulled out her gun. The woman didn't listen, but raised the stone higher as she ran at her. Lara took a step back and aimed for her head but found that she was unable to pull the trigger. Instead, she dropped her aim and shot Amanda in the knee. The woman cried out as she fell in front of her, clutching her leg as her dark blood started pooling in the snow.
Breathing heavily, Lara aimed her gun at Amanda's head, unable to believe what had just happened. She imagined herself pulling the trigger and making good on her threat in Bolivia. But then, when Amanda looked at her she found herself hesitating and pulled back, taking a step away from her.
There was black murder in Amanda's eyes as she dared her to do it but also her fear of dying. When Lara grimaced and put the gun away, looking at the blood spreading over the white snow, she closed her eyes, allowing the pain to enter her face.
Lara closed her eyes to it and turned around, starting to walk away. She did not see Amanda struggle to her feet, but she heard her call. "Lara!"
She ignored it and continued walking, the screams of her old friend following her into the world of white snow.
Hands holding her, pinning her down.
"Lara!" A voice she hated, loved...
"Lara wake up!"
Lara Croft sat up with a start, her heart racing in her chest as she instinctively reached for her gun and pointed it at her assailant. In front of her, Amanda gasped and fell back, her eyes wide as she held up her hands in defence.
"It's me," she said. "Lara please, it's me."
Snow swirled around them, as Lara remembered her dream, remembered shooting Amanda and leaving her to die in the cold wasteland she had survived as a child. She did not drop her gun immediately, but looked at Amanda, her gaze demanding why the woman had woken her.
Looking at her gun, Amanda touched her lip with her tongue and made a vague motion into the snow. "Something's out there," she said slowly. "I can feel it." Her eyes travelled back to the gun as she frowned. "And look at the Thor's gauntlet Lara, look!"
The Tomb Raider managed to tear her eyes away from Amanda's and look at her own wrists were she could see the faint blue glow of Thor's Gauntlet's from underneath her gloves. She frowned and looked up at Amanda again who was hugging her body, shivering in the cold wind. They had settled amidst some ancient ruins against a rock face for the night. Lara had thought that she would stay awake to keep an eye out for any danger but obviously she had fallen asleep. Feeling a wave of shame, she dropped her gun and pushed herself up, pulling Amanda up with her.
"What do you feel?" she queried as she realized that the light around them was coming from Amanda's stone. "Turn that off, it will betray our position."
Amanda grimaced and a second later darkness fell around them. Lara closed her eyes to give her some time to adjust then opened them again and searched for Amanda's shape in the darkness.
"I can't explain it," she said sharply. "It's... like a pressing on my chest. Something's coming closer. Look at your gauntlets, they clearly show it as well!"
Lara shook her head sharply and took of her gloves to reveal the glowing ancient device. "They did then whenever there was a material close by that I could move with them." She pointed out and looked around the ruins. "There might be some of it here."
Amanda grimaced but didn't reply, though Lara could see that she didn't seem convinced. Clutching the Wraith Stone, she looked around the darkness, searching for something Lara couldn't feel. Watching her once friend, Lara sighed and looked around, running her hand over the walls to see if she could find the source of the gauntlet's glow. While she did this, Amanda watched her, her hand still over her stone.
It took a few minutes for Lara to find what she was looking for. With her hands cold from touching the stone, she felt a shift and then saw a faint glow from behind a sheet of ice. Smiling, she glanced at Amanda who came closer to investigate.
"Here it is," she said. "Stand back, I'm going to move it."
With her face tight, Amanda looked up and abruptly summoned the light from her stone again. "Lara, I don't think you should," she said making Lara smile as she took off her other hand's glove.
"Who's overcautious now?" she queried as she put both hands on the stone. "I'm going to push on three. One...Two... Three!" She pushed hard against the rock face at the same time a loud, guttural roar pierced through the darkness.
"Lara!" Amanda yelled seconds before a large glowing yeti thrall crashed through the ruins to their left. Lara let go of the rock and turned around, pulling Excalibur as she did so but Amanda was quicker than she was. Summoning the stone's power with a quickness that almost made Lara jealous she blasted the thrall with a stream of power.
"I told you so!" The woman snapped as she limped to where Lara stood, spreading the light around them. "There are more coming!"
Feeling her heart race within her chest, Lara looked around them, spotting two more shapes coming their way. The gloves on her hands glowed ominously in the dark and she knew that it didn't help telling Amanda to let her light die because, not only did they glow just as brightly but, they were probably what drew the thralls towards them.
"There," she said pointing out a shape in the dark. "When they go down, we need to make sure that they are dead! They reanimate themselves..."
"I know!" Amanda snapped as she grabbed the first one that came into sight and threw it against the rock face. Lara ran at it and thrust Excalibur into its chest, making it explode into a cloud of dust. "Trust me, I know!"
Two more came at them and this time the two women split off, Lara attacking the thrall with Excalibur and Amanda with her stone. When it appeared as if there was no more, Lara ran back to the stone that she had moved, turning on her LED light.
"What are you doing?" Amanda demanded as she limped to her side. "We have to move from this spot!"
Lara, running her hands up and down the rock, watching the way the stone lit up, glanced at her and then back to the stone. Placing her hands over it, she tried to push it in a little further but found that the stone could not go any deeper.
"I know," Lara said softly as she stepped back and looked to the side of the stone. With her fingers shivering from the cold she ran it along the edge of it, taking note of the ancient grooves that have been cut into it. "But I think..." She paused and grimaced. "Stand close to me."
Amanda gaped at her. "Lara!" she exclaimed again. "We do not have time for this! Listen! Can you hear those creatures coming again? You and I just survived the release of Jὂrmungandr and we escaped from Helheim. And, against all the odds, we are still alive in the coldest place on this planet! I am not going to sit around here and wait for those thralls to come pick us off of the ledge!"
Lara turned around sharply and glared at Amanda. "I know Amanda!" she snapped. "But, I want to see what this is. It might provide us with a quicker, warmer way off of this mountain! Please, just let me do this!"
There was an audible click as Amanda clenched her teeth together, her face tense as she shook her head. "Don't let me die unnecessarily here Lara," she said and turned around, "I'll keep watch."
Remembering her dream, Lara watched as Amanda turned around and spread her legs for balance. The Wraith Stone began to glow as she wrapped her hand around it, its dark light curling around Amanda's fingers like vines. Knowing what was coming, Lara turned her face away and closed her eyes, unable to face the Unknown Entity Amanda was about to summon. How the woman could face it, after it had slaughtered most of their colleges and friends, Lara could never understand and the fact that the woman could embrace it was beyond belief.
Hearing the spine chilling sound of the Entity coming to life, Lara opened her eyes and set to discover the secrets hidden inside the stone, knowing with a touch of bitterness that she once again had to trust Amanda to guard her back.
To Be Continued...
AN: And finally an update, lol. This has been done for a while, but I was waiting for another chapter from another story (The Healer's Touch for those of you who follow it) to come back from my Beta Reader. I always post that one first. :) Thank you once again for all the reviews on this, I appreciate every single one! You can now follow me on twitter if you want to see what I'm up to, I always post what project I'm working on there. You can find a link through my profile.
Enjoy your day everybody!